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Under CBB’s supervision and in collaboration with iGA, BENEFIT Launches the 1st eKYC Project in the Arab Region

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain - 24th February, 2019 – BENEFIT - the leading electronic financial transactions network - announced at a press conference held yesterday at Wyndham Grand Hotel the launch of the new national Electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) Project, which is the first-of-its-kind in the Arab World targeting retail banks, financial service providers and money exchange networks.

BENEFIT will implement the eKYC Project in the second quarter of this year in collaboration with the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) under the supervision of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The project is intended to provide an advanced state-of-the-art online platform and a database for financial institutions to authenticate the identities of their clients as well as validate their information before granting financial services.

The project also aspires to help financial technology (FinTech) companies which offer financial and banking products using online applications as well as facilitate the launch of their products and services. This is in compliance with CBB’s instructions to the financial sector to utilize financial service technologies. It is also in line with the guidance of the Economic Development Board (EDB) to promote FinTech as a promising economic sector.

On this occasion, BENEFIT’s Chief Executive Officer Abdulwahid Janahi said “The project targets retail banks to facilitate the opening of retail accounts and keep abreast with the latest technologies as the system will enable clients to self-enroll and complete their transactions with ease.”

“BENEIT will provide financial entities in Bahrain with a complete web portal allowing identity authentication as well as mobile applications; thus augmenting the Kingdom’s electronic systems in line with Bahrain’s Vision 2030,” Janahi further explained during the press conference.

“The eKYC project provides unique features to BENEFIT clients, namely the promotion of digitalization as well as user-friendly features, lower cost and less time and effort in collecting data under a single platform, in addition to providing data from reliable government sources and thus minimizing fraud.”

“BENEFIT continues to provide an outstanding variety of eServices to support the transformation of electronic payments and transfers; thus developing services provided to the business sector and saving effort, time and money”, Janahi added while thanking all stakeholders for their support of the such important project.

On his part, iGA Chief Executive Mr. Mohamed Ali AlQaed expressed his pride in the strategic partnership between iGA and BENEFIT in the development of the eKYC project which is in line with its commitment to the previously announced plans of developing the Cloud Computing sector. BENEFIT has been selected as a technology partner to manage an intermediate gateway between available data by iGA and all financial entities which benefit from the service instead of conducting wide linking processes with each entity independently in an aim to activate modern technologies in the government sector. Such impressive first-of-its-kind in the region project aims at strengthening competitiveness and growth in the financial and the business sector.

“Introducing the Blockchain technology in the Kingdom’s financial sector will work on improving administrative procedures by linking systems, verifying administrative processes and issued documents from concerned entities, as well as exchanging adopted accurate data that reduces fraud attempts and errors,” continued AlQaed while highlighting that iGA worked on the project by providing consultation services and technical support. He further added that it will work on providing data of individuals and entities available through the Population Registry by creating a clear mechanism which ensures the attainment of individual’s consent prior to submitting the information. Moreover, benefiting from iGA’s advanced eKey system and the identity verification system via the biometric (fingerprint) system.

MR. Khalid Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision at CBB, stated that the project allows client identity authentication, KYC information display and validation. It will also facilitate self-enrollment by the client to upload additional information and apply for financial services through online channels. The service combines obtaining information from officially accredited sources, in addition to the implementation of the Blockchain technology for data which is not available and as this provides a total and complete model for all data needed by financial entities.

CBB Executive Director also commented that the bank will continue to draft electronic financial services related to legislations and regulations for the benefit of clients and banks alike. Furthermore, it will always be the first to support technological advancements and endeavor to provide more services with maximum ease and minimum costs.


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